MACULAR DEGENERATION & NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
How can vitamins & minerals affect AMD?
Although the exact causes of AMD are not fully understood, a recent scientific study shows that antioxidant vitamins and zinc may reduce the impact of AMD in some people with the disease. Among people at high risk for late-stage macular degeneration (those with intermediate AMD in both eyes or advanced AMD in one eye), a dietary supplement of vitamins C, E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowered the risk of the disease progressing to advanced stages by about 25-30%. However, the supplements did not appear to benefit people with minimal AMD or those who have no evidence of macular degeneration.
Light may affect the eye by stimulating oxygen, leading to the production of highly reactive and damaging compounds called free radicals. Antioxidant vitamins (vitamins C and E and beta carotene) may work against this activated oxygen and help slow the progression of macular degeneration.
Zinc, one of the most common minerals in our body, is very concentrated in the eye, particularly in the retina dn macula. Zinc is necessary for the action of over 100 enzymes, including chemical reactions in the retina. Studies show some older people have low levels of zinc in their blood. Because zinc is important for the health of the macula, supplements of zinc in the diet may slow down the process of macular degeneration.
The levels of antioxidants and zinc that were shown to be effective in slowing AMD’s progression cannot be consumed through your diet alone. These vitamins and minerals are recommended in specific daily amounts as supplements to a healthy, balanced diet.
Should I take antioxidant vitamins for AMD?
It is very important to remember that vitamin supplements are not a cure for AMD, nor will they restore vision you may have already lost from the disease. However, specific amounts of certain supplements do play a key role in helping some people at high risk for advanced AMD to maintain their vision. You should speak with your ophthalmologist (Eye MD) to determine if you are at risk for developing advanced AMD, and to learn if supplements are recommended for you.
Here at The Eye Centers of Racine & Kenosha we keep up to date on new research and new treatments. Call 262 637 0500 today! to scheduled your appointment.
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